Thank You For All You’ve Done
EchoPark JDI (2014)
By Bob Marovich
Hearing Beverly Crawford sing is always exciting. Hearing Beverly Crawford sing live is even more so.
That’s what the listener gets on Thank You For All You’ve Done. A live recording done at Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, Thank You demonstrates how Crawford can shout and squall in the tradition of Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, and various other Caravans. Indeed, she opens the set with a ‘Vans (and Shirley Caesar) chestnut, “Sweeping Through the City.”
Throughout the album, Crawford intersperses newer, praise songs between the traditional canon. For every “You Are” and “Everyday Praise,” she offers the trad-leaning title track (“If there was no rain, how could I grow,” she sings) and Mary Lou Coleman’s gospel blues “Jesus” (as “Jesus Precious King”). Crawford blends contemporary and traditional on “I Know It Was the Blood,” which is not the familiar congregational song but an original by Melvin Williams. The praise songs sound better channeled through Crawford than if they were done by a lesser-skilled artist.
“Hero” gives Crawford a chance to perform with her daughter, Latrina. The sweet-singing Latrina wrote the song about her grandfather and, after father Todd’s intro, the mother and daughter duet. The family involvement doesn’t stop here, as Todd “TJ” Crawford Jr. plays guitar on “I Need You Now.”
The choir that backs Beverly is big, thunderous, and keeps the traditional vibe strong even on the more modern pieces.
Thank You For All You’ve Done may not be Beverly Crawford’s magnum opus—to my ears, that belongs to her 2008’s Live From Los Angeles CD/DVD combo—but it’s plenty enjoyable. Plus, it took the number one position on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums charts and even entered the storied Billboard 200.
Four of Five Stars
Picks: “Sweeping Through the City,” Thank You For All You’ve Done”